Parents and teachers need all the ideas they can find to keep youngsters engaged while they’re cooped up at home because of the coronavirus.
NEXT.cc, a nonprofit connected to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, offers free online projects and activities in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) through its award-winning website.
Teachers have been using the site for a number of years for project-based learning, and now NEXT.cc is reaching out to parents and others to let them know about the free resources available .Working in collaboration with The School Zone Institute at the University of New Mexico, NEXT.cc is using Facebook and LinkedIn to share Creativity Connections with families while schools are closed. The NEXT.cc Facebook page is sharing information on setting up a home design center, weekly themes, daily STEAM activities and opportunities to feature work submitted by children for the next 12 weeks.
The 13-year-old NEXT.cc website is the brainchild of a group of organizations that have been working for years to meld architecture, design and STEAM topics into a useful resource for teachers, students and children all over the world. The organizers don’t track children under 18 who use NEXT.cc, but know from Google Analytics that they have followers in 50 states and over 200 countries, according to Mark Keane, UWM professor of architecture, president of NEXT.cc and one of the founders of the network.
UWM and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are among the sponsors of NEXT.cc., along with several foundations, museums and the National Endowment for the Arts. NEXT.cc is has been recognized for its innovative delivery of project based learning by a number of organizations. These include: the American Institute of Architects, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture for Creativity in Education, Architecture Foundation, Union of International Architects Architecture + Children’s Golden Cubes Award; the United States Green Building Council and the National Environmental Education Foundation.